Sales and Marketing Director Phil King on the Rod Stewart concert
Last month’s Rod Stewart concert brought just under 16,000 people into Brunton Park as the Hits 2016 Tour wrapped up an eight-stadium round-robin of venues which saw the international superstar cover hits old and new in front of delighted audiences.
United’s Sales and Marketing Director Phil King looked back at the event with us, one month on, and admitted a sense of pride that the Club had successfully staged a concert of that type.
“I think pride is probably the right way to describe the feeling when you consider that we all made it happen so well,” he said. “I tried to stand back and take a couple of minutes on the night to look around and it was fantastic to see so many people in here enjoying themselves.
“About 9,000 of them were on the pitch and, when you put that together with the staging and lighting and everything else that goes into it, I think you have to say that we did well as a Club to bring it all to fruition.
“It goes without saying that it takes a lot to get an event like that on in terms of time, resource, planning and organisation, and it has to be a group effort involving people inside the Club as well as from external agencies. As I say, the reward for everyone was to see it come together and go ahead in the way it did.”
“One of the important things to come out of it is that we’ve shown that we can successfully stage an event like this,” he added. “It was almost ten years ago when we last had a concert here, with Elton John, and if you don’t keep doing it you slip off the radar a little bit when it comes to promoters looking for suitable venues.
“We’re back on the map as a potential site and it also shows that the City of Carlisle can cope with it as well. It sold well, everyone enjoyed it and there were no real big issues to come out of it. The proof of its success is that we have already had three or four different promoters approach us to ask for dates going forward.
“It’s now for us to look at that and see if it’s worthwhile going ahead. We need to consider each approach on its merits and make sure the dates fit with what we need to do in the summer months.
“We’re a month on from the Rod Stewart concert now and it’s nice to see grass coming back through on the pitch, but we can’t get away from the fact we did leave ourselves a tight window.
“We need to have it in the back of our minds that we don’t want to jeopardise the football season for the sake of a concert. There’s a lot to think about but it’s certainly something we want to replicate and if we can do one every year, and it fits, then it’s something we’re keen to consider.”
Looking more at the possibility of hosting another concert as early as next summer, he said: “The conversations looking ahead to the potential of hosting a concert next summer are ongoing now.
“We’ll have more detailed discussions over the next six to eight weeks and we’ll see where that takes us. We announced Rod Stewart in October last year so, if we do decide to go ahead, I would think we will work to the same timescale.”
An obvious question to come out of the staging of an event as a big as this is on the financial reward the Club can expect to see once the final reconciliation has been completed.
“It won’t buy us a whole new team but equally it is clearly commercially viable,” he said. “It brings some good money into the Club at a time when it can be a quiet period.
“We went into it making sure it was risk free and we signed a deal where the promoters took on a lot of the leg work, even though it was still very busy for us with plenty to keep us going.
“It basically worked on a venue rental type system and it’s been very positive for us in terms of tickets sold and the hospitality packages we were able to run in our own catering facilities. There are a lot of different income streams and it’s definitely been worthwhile for us to be involved and to host the event.”
As for who he would like to see up next at Brunton Park ... it appears that his wide ranging musical taste means it could be just about anybody!
“I was at Sunderland and we saw the likes of Oasis and Kasabian, and people like that, and it was fantastic,” he told us. “We essentially have a 20,000 capacity here so we’re open to talking about any possibility.
“I have to say I was also there for One Direction and seeing that come together was impressive, even though I couldn’t actually make it on the night. Whether or not we’re in that Ball Park is up for discussion, but Rod Stewart was a big headline name with a massive following, and that’s the kind of act we want here.
“As I say, we’re open to ideas and I wouldn’t rule anybody out.”
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